Need 2 Know: Save the track pe­ti­tion reaches over 18,000

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

Agroup of “unashamed sup­port­ers” of the Craggy Range Te Mata Peak track have formed an in­cor­po­rated so­ci­ety to give a voice to the nearly 18,500 peo­ple who signed a re­cent pe­ti­tion to save the Craggy Range Te Mata Peak track.

Te Mata Peak Peo­ples’ Track So­ci­ety Inc. has last month in­structed its lawyer to write to Hast­ings Dis­trict Coun­cil, putting the Coun­cil on no­tice of the need for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the fate of the Track, and of its in­ten­tion to sup­port the Coun­cil in de­fend­ing any le­gal pro­ceed­ings that may be brought to chal­lenge the le­gal­ity of the Track.

Peo­ples’ Track So­ci­ety chair, Ge­orge Wil­liams said the strong sup­port shown through the ‘Save the Craggy Range Walk­ing Track’ on­line pe­ti­tion demon­strated that peo­ple saw the Track as a “fan­tas­tic ad­di­tion to recreation and tourism in Hawke’s Bay”.

“We have formed the So­ci­ety as a ve­hi­cle to pro­mote this over­whelm­ing pub­lic in­ter­est in re­tain­ing the Craggy Range Track.

“We are thrilled to be able to sup­port pe­ti­tion ini­tia­tor, Re­becca McNeur in form­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion to for­mally rep­re­sent the views of those sig­na­to­ries. We’re thrilled that Re­becca has agreed to join the So­ci­ety as sec­re­tary.”

Peo­ples’ Track So­ci­ety spokesman, Xan Harding added, “We stand for a fair hear­ing for the sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple in Hawke’s Bay who sup­port re­ten­tion of the Track, far more than those that op­posed it. We also adamantly be­lieve in the need for a bal­anced and ob­jec­tive ap­proach to de­ter­min­ing its fate.

“We ac­knowl­edge that Iwi have a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in Te Mata Peak and were not prop­erly con­sulted about the Track. “Now there needs to be lo­cal di­a­logue, lo­cal con­sen­sus build­ing and the pur­suit of win-win so­lu­tions to heal the divi­sion within our com­mu­nity,” said Mr Harding.

“Te Mata Peak un­doubt­edly has out­stand­ing land­scape value that should be pro­tected but it is also an out­stand­ing recre­ational fea­ture for the re­gion and em­bod­ies sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural, bio­di­ver­sity and tourism val­ues as well. All th­ese things are im­por­tant, and it should be up to the peo­ple of Hawke’s Bay to de­cide.”

To­day Te Mata Peak Peo­ples’ Track So­ci­ety Inc. launched an ap­peal via the Givealit­ crowd fund­ing website, to raise a fight­ing fund to sup­port the case for re­ten­tion of the Track. Funds raised will go to­wards de­fend­ing po­ten­tial le­gal ac­tion, and for bet­ter­ment of the Track.

The zig zag track on the eastern face of Te Mata Peak was cre­ated by Craggy Range Win­ery, on land it owned op­po­site the Gi­ants Win­ery on Waimarama Road, Hast­ings. Hast­ings Dis­trict Coun­cil granted re­source con­sent for the Track and it was con­structed late in 2017. Over the sum­mer many peo­ple walked the Track amidst vo­cal op­po­si­tion and sup­port for its cre­ation, which in­cluded the ‘Save the Craggy Range Walk­ing Track’ pe­ti­tion.

The Track was sub­se­quently closed by Craggy Range Win­ery, but peo­ple have con­tin­ued to walk and en­joy it.

Con­di­tions of con­sent for the Track in­cluded a per­pet­ual ac­cess ease­ment for the ben­e­fit of the peo­ple of Hawke’s Bay. Le­gal ac­tion against the Track has been threat­ened by Auck­land-based lobby group, the En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fence So­ci­ety. Above: The track on Te Mata Peak. Right: The three found­ing mem­bers of the so­ci­ety: from left: Ge­orge Wil­liams, Re­becca McNeur and Xan Harding.

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